Monday night was filled with wonder and amazement as Pete and I got to finally unbox the Xbox Series X for our community before the worldwide release of Xbox Series X|S on November 10, 2020. This box has been sitting in my home theatre for five days while I patiently waited for an opportunity to film this unboxing, so I was pretty bloody excited! I’m not normally one to care too much about the outer shipping box, but this unboxing was a great experience before we even turned the thing on.
Starting with the outer shipping box, Xbox have put a lot of thought into every step of the journey for every type of Xbox gamer. I receive a lot of parcels through my day job in medical supplies, but it is very rare to see a shipping box have internal branding with this mimicking the mesh top of the Series X. The box was also very easy to slide open with only one piece of tape to cut through and then the box unfolded with ease. This was a great nod to accessible or disabled gamers who may have difficulty cutting open regular boxes.
Taking out the retail box, we’re met with a bold image of the Xbox Series X featuring a close up of the top black mesh with green undertone fan design. It states the major elements within the Series X with a 1TB SSD and supporting 4K up to 120fps. On the rear we have Master Chief himself and the slogan, “Power Your Dreams”. This retail packaging had tape on the sides and back seams, however each piece of tape had a non-sticky edge. This allowed you to peel off each strip of tape with just one hand. Even better, each piece of tape peeled off without ripping off the artwork on the box! Now for the fun part.
I always save the best things for last, so I opened the components compartment where there was a HDMI cable, power cable and the Xbox Series X wireless controller. I was very pleased to see they had finally done away with the bulky and heavy power brick that was present with the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I figured perhaps some of the weight of the Series X console could be attributed to now having an internal power supply. The HDMI cable was marked ‘Ultra High Speed’ which is important if you want to utilise the full potential of 4K. Also to note here is that it’s HDMI 2.1, so be sure that your 4K TV supports HDMI 2.1, otherwise you may not achieve the full 120fps.
Unwrapping the wireless controller revealed two AA batteries which I inserted. I’m used to using rechargeable battery kits and noticed the battery cover plate is slightly different to the ones on my Xbox One controllers. More research will be required into Series X controller battery packs later on. The next thing I felt different was the textured grip underneath. After an hour or so of gaming I can get sweaty hands which causes the Xbox One controller to slip a bit, especially in intense FPS or racing games. The triggers are ever-so-slightly less angled and feel responsive. The left and right shoulder buttons felt slightly more clicky but not too dissimilar to the Xbox One controller. The XYAB buttons looked and felt the same as previous iterations and the left and right thumbsticks felt unchanged.
There were three other noticeable differences on this controller – an elite-style d-pad, a share button centred beneath the select and start buttons, and at the base of the controller is a 3.5mm headphone input jack. The d-pad is more clicky than the Xbox One d-pad and clicks a little louder but hardly noticeable. The share button is great too as previously you had to press the Xbox guide button, then press Y to capture a screenshot or even more buttons to record a clip. Now you can press the share button to capture a screenshot and hold it down to record a clip – very cool!
The original 2013 Xbox One controllers did not have a headphone jack next to the expansion port which was really frustrating at the time given I couldn’t use the headsets I had purchased for the Xbox 360. I ended up having to spend an extra $150 to get the Xbox Chatpad that featured a headphone jack, which is honestly one of the best accessories I’ve ever owned. I’m glad the base Series X controller has the headphone jack as standard, but I’ll still be plugging in my chatpad for faster typing when searching for games or chatting to mates.
One big plus here though is the Xbox Series X is backwards compatible with many previous Xbox One accessories such as the controllers, chatpad, original headset and remote. My first thought when the Series X arrived was that I’d need to buy a second controller for when mates come around, but I can just use the two I have from my current Xbox One – winning! I’ll be keeping the Xbox One for a while as a media player for my family and a gaming console for when my daughters get a bit older. Other gamers might be trading it in against the Series X pre-order, so then you’d want to invest in a second controller for sure.
Now onto the pièce de résistance, the Xbox Series X consolewhich was wrapped in thin black disposable material. The console is slightly heavier than the Xbox One weighing in at 9.8lbs / 4.4kg. In comparison my original Xbox One weighs 7.8lbs / 3.5kg. There is a circular stand signifying the base and when stood vertically, the SeriesX stands 30cm tall and is 15cm wide/deep. I could have stored this on my carpet so it was out of sight but I chose to keep it up on my entertainment cabinet, out of reach. Given the colour scheme of my theatre room, it doesn’t stand out too much which I was very happy with.
The console can also be stored on it’s side if you prefer, and one side has 4 lugs which took the guess work away about which side to lie it down on. The front of the console has a UHD Blu-Ray drive and an eject button, a USB slot and next to that is a pairing button for the controller. This pairing button is also an infrared receiver if you have one of the old infrared Xbox remotes. Then there’s the signature Xbox power button that glows white, similar to the Xbox One. I did notice that my fingerprints could be seen after I’d inspected each side, but the console is easily wiped down once you’ve got it in position in your gaming set up. The rectangular design makes it really simple to keep clean.
On the back is an air vent at the top as well as all the connectors at the bottom. I also noticed there’s a kensington lock slot which allows you to secure the unit to a desk or wall if you’re worried about the possibility of the console being knocked over. I won’t use this feature myself but it’s good to know it has been considered. The other connectors are power, ethernet (there’s built-in Wi-Fi), HDMI-out (HDMI 2.1), a storage expansion slot (for those Seagate SSDs) and two USB 3.1 connectors.
That’s all I’m allowed to reveal at this stage, but Pete, Dan and I were suitably impressed with not only the minimalistic approach to the overall design but the care and thought put into the packaging. Xbox have done really well in producing retail and outer shipping boxes to be accessible to all types of gamers and abilities. You can watch our unboxing video below while we wait for the general review embargo to lift on Thursday night. Game on legends!